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We can imagine you’re getting used to the phrase ‘the new normal’ by now. People are starting to get back into the office again after working from home for two years and changing habits. The world of workwear is no different. While 2020-2021 will be remembered for many reasons, it’ll also be known as the era that shifted convention workwear dress codes as we’ve known them.

Looking at sales figures, it’s fair to say that most buyers embraced comfort during the lockdown, with loungewear sales significantly increasing. The impact working from home has had on our wardrobes has caused the fundamental shift into workwear as we know it in every industry.

British fashion designer Phoebe English found that “44% of people believe that loungewear will continue to inform their future professional wardrobes, with hoodies and elasticated waists holding a permanent place in our work attire. As time goes on and working schedules are likely to include a blend of working from home and office, we expect to increase hybrid. Multi-functional garments that can effortlessly work for both these scenarios.”

The term multifunctional has been replicated across all industries in their approach to workwear. Particularly when financial strains were high, having a garment with multiple functions and purposes while keeping all workers safe was important.
 

The Effect On Construction Workers

The construction industry is one that required PPE and safe uniforms pre-pandemic, but extra attention to detail was needed when COVID-19 restrictions were brought in. As restrictions increased and the public's anxiety increased, it affected people's views on PPE and ‘safe clothing’ in a post-pandemic world.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the critical role of workplace safety and the importance of proper personal protective equipment. It has shifted everyone's interpretation of PPE and made its way into our lives. The example of PPE you would think about in the construction industry would probably include hard hats and hi-vis jackets or vests.

In the healthcare industry, you would probably have surgical masks and aprons. However, PPE can be defined as any equipment either worn or held by an individual used to protect against one or more potential risks occurring at any time. As the number of potential risks significantly increased with the rising of the pandemic, industries have been known to become more fluid with the PPE required in the workplace.

 

In the construction industry, the initial use of PPE was for protection against injuries on the site, but as every industry is responding to the cultural shift the pandemic has left, construction workers' PPE has been amended. PPE is as much about protecting staff as it is about protecting visitors. Increased signage and visibility are now an industry standard on every construction site.

The rise of multi-purpose clothing is also a trend that has affected the construction industry. Workwear trousers are known for their multiple pockets and storage facilities. There are also some options where trousers can be unzipped into shorts for extra comfort when needed. 3 in 1 jackets are a great example of multi-purpose clothing. The Portwest Argo Classic 3in1 Jacket offers waterproof, windproof and breathable protection and is adaptable for all seasons.

Breathable technology is an important one, especially in post-pandemic life. Research showed that bacteria and germs thrive in warmer conditions and, without a constant flow of fresh air, can become harmful quickly. Offering garments with breathable technology allows for air circulation in places that may previously have been harder to reach and reduces the chance of bacteria growing. A workforce in breathable garments is a happy and safe one.

 

The Importance of Sustainability

The pandemic has springboarded people's approach to sustainability, a concert that had already gained much traction pre-pandemic. With lots of PPE and other resources readily available in single-use plastic, people started to turn their attention to other areas of their lives that could be made more sustainable.

Fashion production makes up 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions, dries up water sources, and pollutes rivers and streams. What’s more, 85% of all textiles go to the dump each year (
UNECE, 2018), and washing some types of clothes sends a significant amount of microplastics into the ocean. Whether you’re in charge of your work uniform or provide a uniform for your whole team, a conscious effort can be made to improve the sustainability of your uniforms.

At Cobra Workwear, we stock a range of sustainable workwear pieces that are comfortable to wear and suitable for several industries. The Premier Spun Dyed Sustainable Zip Through Sweat Jacket is made from recycled polyester yarns, contributing significantly less to carbon emissions than a regularly sourced garment. It also offers easy-care fabric, meaning it doesn’t require an elaborate cleaning procedure, which can be a concern when dealing with sustainable products.

 

In general, the world as we know it pre-pandemic has changed completely. It has brought cultural shifts that we otherwise wouldn't have experienced for quite some time. It’s interesting to see how shifts in one industry and their approach to something can have a ripple effect on other industries that previously would've had no connection.

If you’re looking for help navigating your workforce’s uniforms post-pandemic,
contact the team at Cobra Workwear, and we will be happy to assist you! 

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